'Dope Don't Sell Itself,' but 2 Chainz's Rapping Does

BY Antoine-Samuel Mauffette AlavoPublished Feb 10, 2022

2 Chainz has been a staple in the game for over a decade, and with his latest album, Dope Don't Sell Itself, he proves that his relevance remains undeniable. His signature voice and raunchy style, matched with his expert-level beat selection, allow for his versatility to shine through, while his legend status nets him refreshing featured guests who never overshadow Chainz.

Loosely narrated with scripted hustler talk, the album's 12 tracks are held together by 2 Chainz's aura and voice more so than by melodic progression. The bouncy, BeatKing-produced "Pop Music" (featuring an in-form Moneybagg Yo) contrasts with the grimy "Vlad TV," yet 2 Chainz's hypnotic flow and humorous lyrical approach remain the underlying constant. "Neighbors Know My Name" will transport listeners back to the snap music era with its glitchy sounds and disjointed melody, while the same deconstructed vibe is felt on opener "Bet it Back."

Impressively, Chainz's collaborations feel sincere, a direct reflection of his consistency and the respect he has garnered throughout his years in the game. Rookie superstars 42 Dugg ("Million Dollars Worth of Game") and NBA YoungBoy ("10 Bracelets") elevate their spitting, while young OGs like Lil Baby ("Kingpen Ghostwriter") and Lil Durk ("Lost Kings"), who can be known to phone features in, go the extra mile in delivering quality verses. Unfortunately, "Outstanding" is anything but, as it offers jumbled production and an uninspired Roddy Ricch hook — a rare dud in this otherwise ironclad selection of songs.

While Dope Don't Sell Itself does not inspire immediate playback like Chainz's last outing, So Help Me God!, and doesn't contain the breakout hits of 2017's acclaimed Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, it is a testament to the rapper's longevity and his vital role in ATL's shifting scene as a gravitational figure for all to aspire to become.
(Def Jam)

Latest Coverage